The Indian Herald

The Indian Herald

February 16, 2009

Raju Shrivastava may contest election from UP

Eyeing the strong Kayastha community in Uttar Pradesh, both the Congress and SP have offered celebrity comedian Raju Shrivastava to fight the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

Shrivastava has reportedly been offered to contest from Uttar Pradesh by the Congress. Though party functionaries haven't come on record, it is learnt that he may be asked to contest from Allahabad (UP).

The City has a numerically large Kayastha community. Over the years Kayasthas have felt neglected by the Congress though they once held important positions and had clout in the State administration and politics. Several other parties including the Samajwadi Party have also offered him ticket.

India's biggest star Amitabh Bachchan belongs to the same community. Kayasthas are an upper caste that has strong population in North India. Their percentage is comparatively higher in UP, Bihar and West Bengal than other states.

Congress wants to attract the influential caste group by cashing in on the popularity of Raju, party insiders said on conditions of anonymity. The artiste hasn't given his assent as yet.

Congress is trying hard to regain the lost ground in UP. After the BJP's rise in the 80s and later the emergence of BSP and SP, the party had lost favour among the electorate.

The party now intends to go beyond Rae Bareli and Amethi that have been its pocket boroughs. The Samajwadi Party (SP) has also been in touch with Shrivastava, sources said.

Talking to journalists at his hometown, Kanpur, the laughtershow artiste said that he was weighing his options and may contest the Lok Sabha elections. He said that Maharashtra Congress leader Kripa Shankar Singh has conveyed his wish to party chief Sonia Gandhi.

TIH Bureau

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